How Good is Your Hygiene Department?

We all know that the hygiene department’s performance has a direct bearing on the health of your patients and your practice’s bottom line.

I’ve grown weary of rules of thumb for hygiene like “Hygiene should be 30% of practice production” or “Perio should be 30% of hygienist production.” I don’t like that kind of measurement because it’s often misleading. For example, if a doctor does a lot of high end restorative dentistry it will make the hygiene department percentage look low.

Of course, we measure hygienists’ production per hour. That number can be a little spongy sometimes depending on how well the hygienists track their hours worked, downtime, etc.

So, we increasingly use: “Production Per Hygiene Visit.

This number is a direct measurement of the range and depth of your hygienists’ services.

You’ll see this number in your Manager Report each month. Here is the range of performance we see in our area on the hygiene production per patient visit:

What, theoretically, should the average production per visit be? The next example shows average Metro fees based on average x-ray protocols and average perio per exam.

1110 – Prophy $99.00

0274 – BWX $32.50 ($65 divided by 2 – once per year)

0210 – FMX $17.75 ($142 divided by 8 – once per 4 years, assuming 2 visits per year)

1206 – FL2 $21.50 ($43 divided by 2 – once per year)

TOTAL = $170.75 per visit for basic standard care (If you add in average perio per exam, $20, TOTAL = $190.75 per visit)

As you can see, there is quite a difference between what should/could be and what is ($170 versus $156). Getting this nailed down will add over $2,000 per month to the typical hygienists’ production.

Look at the numbers for your office. As you all know, we abhor quotas. When discussing hygiene production per patient visit, focus on criteria. When are fluorides indicated? What are your criteria for perio treatment? Sealants? Whitening? Talk it over with your team. If they are moving, the numbers will move!